A Tale of Seven Elements by Eric Scerri

By Eric Scerri

In 1913, English physicist Henry Moseley demonstrated a chic procedure for "counting" the weather in keeping with atomic quantity, ranging them from hydrogen (#1) to uranium (#92). It quickly grew to become transparent, despite the fact that, that seven components have been mysteriously lacking from the lineup--seven parts unknown to technology.

In his good researched and interesting narrative, Eric Scerri provides the fascinating tales of those seven elements--protactinium, hafnium, rhenium, technetium, francium, astatine and promethium. The ebook follows the ancient order of discovery, approximately spanning the 2 international wars, starting with the isolation of protactinium in 1917 and finishing with that of promethium in 1945. for every aspect, Scerri lines the learn that preceded the invention, the pivotal experiments, the personalities of the chemists concerned, the chemical nature of the hot point, and its purposes in technological know-how and expertise. We examine for example that alloys of hafnium--whose identify derives from the Latin identify for Copenhagen (hafnia)--have a few of the optimum boiling issues on list and are used for the nozzles in rocket thrusters corresponding to the Apollo Lunar Modules. Scerri additionally tells the private stories of researchers overcoming nice stumbling blocks. We see how Lise Meitner and Otto Hahn--the pair who later proposed the idea of atomic fission--were suffering to isolate point ninety one whilst global conflict I intervened, Hahn used to be drafted into the German army's poison gasoline unit, and Meitner was once compelled to press on by myself opposed to daunting odds. The booklet concludes through reading how and the place the twenty-five new parts have taken their areas within the periodic desk within the final part century.

A story of 7 Elements paints a desirable photograph of chemical research--the flawed turns, overlooked possibilities, bitterly disputed claims, serendipitous findings, accusations of dishonesty--all prime ultimately to the joys of discovery.

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J. Lothar Meyer, Die Moderne Theoriene der Chemie, Breslau, Wroklaw, 1864. English translation, Longmans, London, 1888. 31 This table suggests that Lothar Meyer has struggled to arrange elements in terms of atomic weight as well as chemical properties. He seems to have decided to let chemical properties outweigh strict atomic weight ordering in some cases. An example of this is in his grouping of tellurium with elements such as oxygen and sulfur, while iodine (symbol J for jod) is grouped with the halogens, in spite of its lower atomic weight.

Ann. Suppl. 7, 354–364, 1870. From Dalton to the Discovery of the Periodic System 25 periodic system that included a further twenty-four elements and nine new vertical families of elements (fig. 13). This system preceded Mendeleev’s famous table of 1869 that has subsequently been regarded as the mature periodic system. Moreover, Lothar Meyer’s system was more accurate than Mendeleev’s. 34 It appears that for some inexplicable reason Lothar Meyer’s 1868 table was not published. No less than twenty-five years later another German chemist, Adolf Remelé, showed the table to Lothar Meyer, who by this time had forgotten all about its existence.

The leading discoverer of the periodic table was the Russian chemist Mendeleev, who was in fact the last of the six discoverers, although it was Mendeleev who made the most significant contribution to this icon of science. We will also consider the influence that discoveries made in physics had on explaining the periodic table, including Moseley’s work, which established the importance of atomic number. The reader should note that the following two chapters are condensed versions of most of the chapters of my 2007 book on the periodic table.

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